A new virus hoax is spreading on Facebook, shared by well-intentioned users who believe they are warning their friends and family about a threat - but, in reality, are just adding to the noise.
Messages being shared across Facebook warn users not to add as a Facebook friend people called "Jason Allen" or "Amy Allen".
Here are some of the versions of the chain letter message we have seen:
ATTENTION ALL FACEBOOK USERS;IF SOMEONE WITH THE NAME JASON ALLEN OR AMY ALLEN TRIES TO ADD YOU..DO NOT ACCEPT.IT IS A VIRUS.TELL EVEYBODY BECAUSE IF SOMEONE ON YOUR LIST ADDS THEM YOU WILL GET THE VIRUS TOO.COPY PASTE AND RE-POST THIS.THIS HAS BEEN CONFIRMED BY FACEBOOK SNOPES..
HEADS UP EVERYONE
ATTENTION !!!ATTENTION !!! ATTENTION !!! ATTENTION ALL FACEBOOK USERS**... DO NOT ADD *JASON ALLEN*, ALSO IF SOMEBODY CALLED *AMY ALLEN* ADDS YOU, DON'T ACCEPT... IT IS A VIRUS. TELL EVERYBODY, BECAUSE IF SOMEBODY ON YOUR LIST ADDS THEM, YOU GET THE VIRUS TOO. **COPY AND PASTE AND PLEASE RE POST* THIS HAS BEEN CONFIRMED BY FACEBOOK AND SNOPES
The truth is that this is a hoax. You're not really doing others a favour at all if you post or forward the warning to other Facebook users. It's just the latest example of the many hoaxes we have seen spreading over the internet for some years. Just last month we saw a very similar virus hoax spreading on Facebook, but using the names Jason Lee and Linda Smith rather than Jason and Amy Allen.
If you think about it, a warning about Facebook users called "Amy Allen" and "Jason Allen" isn't actually that helpful. After all, just imagine how many people have names like that! And if users called that weren't up to no good, and saw the warning being spread about them, wouldn't they just change their online names?
Furthermore, according to the warning, Facebook is said to have confirmed the threat. If that's true, then precisely where has Facebook confirmed it? Why is there no link in the warning where people can discover more about the threat?
Remember to always get your computer security advice from a computer security company. Friends may be well-intentioned in passing on warnings, but it's always good to check your facts before forwarding them any further.
If you want to learn about the real threats on Facebook you should join the Sophos Facebook page, where we'll keep you up-to-date on the latest rogue applications, scams and malware attacks threatening social network users.Follow @gcluley